THE European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to be “open” to a plan to help British people who want to retain EU citizenship after the UK leaves.
Writing exclusively in The Independent newspaper today, Mr Verhofstadt underlined the EU’s willingness to agree a quick reciprocal deal guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Europe.
But he then moved on to the separate issue of offering rights to people in the UK who he calls “British Europeans”.
He cited the resolution passed by the European Parliament which noted that many UK citizens have “expressed strong opposition to losing the rights they currently enjoy.”
The European Parliament has already indicated in its formal negotiating guidelines its intention to explore what a potential offer to Brits might look like, with ideas including allowing them to opt in to a form of “associate EU citizenship”.
The Independent first reported European proposals last year to offer Brits “associate citizenship” of the EU, an idea which was then personally championed by Mr Verhofstadt.
The proposals began life as an amendment to a report by Luxembourg MEP Charles Goerens, promising Brits who live and work across borders a way around the disruption caused by the Leave vote and young people looking to live in the EU more choice over where to move.